BOSTON -- David Krejci had a wonderful experience at the Sochi Winter Olympics for a Czech Republic team that ultimately fell to the United States in the quarter-finals, but he is clearly feeling the after effects.
Zdeno Chara and Krejci both flew back from Sochi at the end of last week, but they still haven't quite conquered the jet lag and fatigue brought on by the nine hour time zone difference.
“The first day on the ice today, I was really tired. I'm not going to hide that,” said David Krejci, who was back centering Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla at the TD Garden practice. “We still have two days, so hopefully I'll be ready to go [vs. Buffalo]. It was fun. The ending wasn’t what I was hoping for, obviously. But there were so many good teams, but it was a great experience. My mom was there with me, so it was great.
“The weather was good. I think it was in the 50’s the entire time we were there. The arenas were beautiful. The ice wasn’t as good as I expected it to be, but it was the same for everybody else.”
While the off-ice experience was nice for Krejci in a Sochi compound where “everything was brand new”, the experience with the Czech Republic team was a little bewildering at times for the Bruins center. There were the well-documented issues like established NHL players like Jiri Hudler, Radim Vrbata and Roman Polak all being left off the team because of perceived issues with Czech head coach Alois Hadamczik, and yo-yo treatment of goaltender Ondrej Pavelec.
Then in the opening game for the Czech Republic NHL skater Ales Hemsky was misused as the 13th forward, and Krejci -- the NHL’s leading scorer in two of the last three Stanley Cup playoffs -- wasn’t even on either of the top two power play units for his country’s team. Clearly that had changed by the time Krejci was rifling home top shelf one-timers on the power play against Slovakia, but the experience was a bit chaotic for the players on the team.
“My team…we played a little bit different,” said Krejci. “I was happy with my game. I thought I played really well, but the outcome wasn’t what we wanted. Things happen, and you just move on. I don’t know long guys like [Jaromir Jagr] are going to be playing, but one thing is for sure: it’s not too long. We have to take charge, and I think we’re ready for it.
“We have some good, young Czech players that have been getting into the NHL in the last few years. It’s about how the team’s systems play. Canadians and Americans kind of play the same systems in the NHL. We were all over the ice. I didn’t mind it, but I’m glad we’re back here. Every single guy has a job to do on the ice. We were all over the place. It was hard for the other team to watch, and prepare for us. We didn’t even know what we were doing at certain points. It was fun, I had a good time and now I’m glad to be back playing Boston Bruins hockey.”
Interestingly, Hadamczik officially resigned as head coach of the Czech Republic Olympic team on Monday after a raft of criticism from the hockey media watching the tournament.